Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Dannielle from "Top Chef: Just Desserts" on "Living Today"

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Dannielle Kyrillos, one of three judges on Bravo's "Top Chef: Just Desserts," came by our studio on Tuesday and offered up some very helpful Thanksgiving entertaining tips. Not only did we talk turkey day with the judge who does double duty as the editor-at-large of DailyCandy, but we also got a surprise call from none other than Johnny Iuzzini, one of her co-judges on the show. Johnny gave us a little preview of what's to come on the show's finale which airs tonight on Bravo. Listen below.

Johnny Iuzzini's Top Chef finale preview

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Check out Dannielle's entertaining tips below (there are more after the jump).

1. Wearing a cute apron is half the battle.  A few of my favorites are:
Smocks Design, The Hip Hostess
 
2. Don’t make a pumpkin pie, make pumpkin pudding.  I’ll give you a quick recipe.  Or just buy pumpkin ice cream. I promise no one will judge you.
 
3. Apples in a bowl not only look harvest-y, if you leave them long enough, they scent the whole house with an intoxicating perfume that screams autumn.  It’s like cheap potpourri but actually smells good! ;)
 
4. Use maize (dried colorful corn) and mini-gourds to cheaply and easily make your house a T-giving wonderland.  All you do is buy them at the grocery store, they’re super cheap, and we’ll describe some easy ways to arrange them on your table and around the house.  (I’m loving shucked maize on its end in a tall, wide glass vase.  You can add carrots, too!)
 
5. Handing guests a seasonal signature cocktail at the door sets the tone (and takes the pressure off you as they instantly relax).  I’ll tell you how to make my favorite, easiest one, and discuss how using bitters is not scary.
 
 6. Even if it’s just your family, fun placecards make them think you really know what you’re doing. Traced hand turkeys will crack them up, toothpicks in potatoes are adorable, or how about chocolate turkeys?
 
7. A few inexpensive but well-designed serving dishes turn almonds, cherry tomatoes, and olives into real, respectable hors d’oeuvres, like Sagaform’s tapas serving set 8. Put cream cheese in your mashed potatoes.  It won’t matter what else you serve.  Tell no one.
 
9. Decant wine in wobbly, charming vintage-y milk bottles from the flea market-- removes all pretension!

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